Medical Marijuana businesses hurt by license renewal delays
TULSA - The shelves at Preme Cannabis Company don't have the selection they used to.
It's not that James Walker, owner of Preme Cannabis Co., hasn't wanted to buy the product, it's that he hasn't been allowed to since January.
"Something has to be done. I mean, we can’t keep the doors open like this," Walker said.
He has been in the medical marijuana business for three years.
Walker said until recently, people could apply to renew their license before it expired and could keep buying the product while the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority did the paperwork for the new license, a process that can take months.
Now, that process has changed.
"Metrc doesn’t allow the dispensaries or the growers to sell unless their license is active," Walker said.
Metrc is a company contracted by the state to keep track of transactions in the marijuana industry for the OMMA.
"So it’s OMMA’s issue with the license, and then Metrc just cutting people of willy nilly when they choose to, so there’s not, there’s no communication between OMMA and Metrc on how they need to deal with these situations," said attorney Ronald Durbin II.
Attorney Durbin is familiar with the industry.
"The problem is, let's say you have a renewal that’s due right now and I submit the renewal. Well, the minute that my license time expires, let's say it expires in 10 days, I’m still good cause my renewal's in. But what OMMA is going to show is that your license is expired until they actually approve your renewal. That could be 30, 45, 90 days, and until then, Metrc sees you as inactive on OMMA system and stops you from being able to utilize the system," Durbin said.
For Walker, this change has caused more stress for him.
News Channel 8 requested an interview with the OMMA.
"We're unable to fulfill your interview request regarding this inquiry....OMMA is aware that some license holders may be experiencing issues," said OMMA in response.
Tulsa City Councilor Grant Miller has a license for commercial growing and weighed in on the issue.
"What we need to do is organize and head down to the capitol. I’m in touch with a lot of cannabis businesses in town, they all have problems with it. From the issues you’re talking about, being locked out of the system, to even just simple standard operating procedures like how to create a sample for the labs so that we can go get testing. If you don't do that properly they'll lock you out," Miller said.
Meanwhile, at Preme, Walker waited over 60 days for his license to be renewed and doesn't know when it will.
"I renewed, I paid my money, and this is what I get," he said.